Chone Figgins shines for Marlins in win over Braves

Miami 10, Atlanta 2

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Trying to revive his career with the Miami Marlins, Chone Figgins had a big day against the Atlanta Braves.

Figgins, signed to a minor league deal after his release by Seattle, was 4 for 4 with two RBI in Sunday’s 10-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.

“I’m smiling again,” said Figgins, a bust during three seasons with the Mariners after signing a $36 million, four-year contract as a free agent. “It was tough in Seattle, really tough. But I feel like everything is good now. This is another chance and I’m happy.”

Figgins was released in November by the Mariners, who owe him $8 million for this season in the final year of the big contract. He signed a minor league deal with the Marlins.

His first three hits Sunday came off Tim Hudson, who labored through five innings while throwing 97 pitches. He gave up six runs, nine hits, two hit batters and one walk.

B.J. Upton was 3 for 3 for the Braves and is hitting .382 (13 for 34). Jason Heyward went 2 for 3 to break out of a 0-for-14 slide.

Figgins, who hit .181 last season for Seattle, is competing for a backup role at second and third base and also can play shortstop and the outfield. He came in with just two hits in 14 at-bats, but raised his average from .143 to .333.

“He fits the utility-role need for us,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “It was good to see him come out and get some big hits.”

Marlins starter Wade LeBlanc gave up five hits in four scoreless innings with no walks and has pitched nine scoreless innings in spring training. The left-hander, who threw 28 of 42 pitches for strikes, is competing with John Maine and Kevin Slowey for the final spot in the Miami rotation.

“It was good to see him pound the strike zone against a good lineup,” Redmond said. “He’s had a great spring. He’s definitely made a case for a spot in the rotation.”

LeBlanc gave up three runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings against Venezuela in an exhibition game in his previous start. In his second appearance against the Braves this year, he faced just 15 batters thanks to two pickoffs.

“I have to have my control and hit my spots,” LeBlanc said. “The Braves were aggressive, just like the first time, and I tried to use that against them.”

Marcell Ozuna hit a three-run homer in the first inning and fellow outfield prospect Christian Yelich had a two-run drive in the seventh.

Chris Coghlan had two singles and a double, raising his average to .344 (11 for 32).

“I was working on backing up the bases,” Hudson joked. “I’m definitely getting my work in.”

It was the second straight rough outing for the veteran right-hander, who will go into the season three short of 200 career victories. His ERA is 6.43 in four starts.

“I really felt good, believe it or not,” said Hudson, who is trying to find his curveball. “The last couple of starts have been a train wreck from a production standpoint.”


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